Rose's Booklist Number Nine

  01/05/2022

81. AS THE WICKED WATCH, premier novel by talk show host Tamron Hall

Emmy-award-winning talk show host, wife, mother, and my former student, has found the time to write her first novel! So proud of what she's accomplished and her love of words and writing!  The first in a thrilling new series from Emmy Award-winning TV Host and Journalist Tamron Hall, AS THE WICKED WATCH follows a reporter as she unravels the disturbing mystery around the deaths of two young Black women, the work of a serial killer terrorizing Chicago.
 
Jordan is smart and aggressive, with unabashed star-power, and often the only woman of color in the newsroom, giving a voice to the voiceless. Jordan is that rare breed of a journalist who can navigate a crime scene as well as she can a newsroom—often noticing what others tend to miss. Again and again, she is called to cover the murders of Black women, many of them sexually assaulted, most brutalized, and all of them quickly forgotten.
All until Masey James—the story that Jordan just can’t shake. A 15-year-old girl whose body was found in an abandoned lot, Masey has come to represent for Jordan all of the frustration and anger that her job often forces her to repress. Putting the rest of her work and her fraying personal life aside, Jordan does everything she can to give the story the coverage it desperately requires, and that a missing Black child would so rarely get. There’s a serial killer on the loose, Jordan believes, and he’s hiding in plain sight!
 
"Hall’s first novel blends true crime with illuminating reflections on media representation and the obstacles faced by a Black woman in journalism." -- Oprah Daily
“Emmy Award–winning broadcast journalist Hall’s outstanding debut and series launch introduces TV journalist Jordan Manning…Hall brings insight and nuance to such matters as journalism ethics, police treatment of murder cases involving Black women, and competition among journalists and their reliance on those behind the scenes. Readers will want to see a lot more of intelligent, ambitious, and assertive Jordan.” -- Publishers Weekly
82. PARABLE OF THE SOWER & PARABLE OF THE TALENTS by Octavia Butler
 
PARABLE OF THE SOWER & PARABLE OF THE TALENTS is a  "cautionary tale" by Octavia Butler, filled with biblical allusions and religious and historical parallels. A New York Times Notable Book: In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better future. PARABLE OF THE SOWER & PARABLE OF THE TALENTS, a two-part series.
 
Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Lauren’s father, a preacher, and other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.
When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.
 
In the second book, PARABLE OF THE TALENTS, Lauren founded Acorn, a peaceful community based on a religion of her creation, called Earthseed, whose central tenet is that God is change. Five years later, Lauren has married a doctor and given birth to a daughter. Acorn is beginning to thrive. But outside the tranquil group’s walls, America is changing for the worse. Presidential candidate Andrew Steele Jarret wins national fame by preaching a return to the values of the American golden age. To his marauding followers,, this is a call to arms to end religious tolerance and racial equality—a brutal doctrine they enforce by machine gun. And as this band of violent extremists sets its deadly sights on Earthseed, Acorn is plunged into a harrowing fight for its very survival.
 
Taking its place alongside Margaret Atwood’s THE HANDMAID'S TALE & 1984,, Butler’s eerily prophetic novel offers a terrifying vision of our potential future, but also one of hope.

                           
83. MY SOUL CRIES OUT, a murder mystery by  by Joyce A. Brown that addresses victims of domestic violence

Anna Marie Scott placed her trust and future happiness in the hands of the wrong man. When she ends up dead, her restless, soul is determined to bring her killer to justice. The local police are investigating her murder as typical domestic violence. Anna Marie is earthbound until she finds a receptive soul to assist her.
 
Anna Marie Scott grew up in a home where her father loved her mother (and cherished her memory) as well as provided a stable homelife for her and her two sisters. Anna has been unable to achieve her parent’s model. She is a single parent, working as an ER nurse and active in her church. She wants a man to complete her. "My love will change him. I can reshape him to meet my needs."
 
Anna is vulnerable to exploitation by Willie Earl Hoskins. He is a convicted drug dealer she developed a relationship with after meeting him through her church’s prison ministry. Anna invites him to move in with her and her tween daughter following his parole. Opposed to her choice, Anna’s family and friends prevail, but Hoskins exacts his revenge on her and every other woman who has said no to him. Anna’s restless spirit meets a justice system with limited resources dedicated to solving murders of domestic violence. Her spirit will not rest until she achieves justice for herself and her family.
 
MY SOUL CRIES OUT calls attention to both violence against women and unsolved murders in America’s black communities. Anna’s restless spirit is a hypothetical conjecture to illuminate the range of emotions and actions of persons and groups who are actively seeking justice for victims.
 
MY SOUL CRIES OUT begins with a violent murder, immediately pulling the reader in to discover who and why. This tale of the tragic death of a young mother helps us see the impact of domestic violence on our families and communities, and the hypocrisy of apathetic police departments. The author skillfully guides us through the days after, making us empathize with the victim's spirit as she demands justice. Strong characters and a fast-moving plot make this an easy read. If you like a good love story or a great mystery, this is a book you don't want to miss.    Amazon review
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 84.  Brit Bennett's, THE VANISHING HALF

From The New York Times--bestselling author of THE MOTHERS, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.
 
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults. It's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?
 
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, THE VANISHING HALF considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
 
Named best Book of the Year by The New York Times, the Washington Post, Time Magazine, People, Vanity Fair, Glamour, NPR Radio and named 2021 Women's Prize Finalist.
“Bennett’s tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it’s especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s 1970 debut novel, The Bluest Eye.” —Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal
“A story of absolute, universal timelessness …For any era, it's an accomplished, affecting novel. For this moment, it's piercing, subtly wending its way toward questions about who we are and who we want to be….” – Entertainment Weekly

 

85. HIS ONLY WIFE by Peace Adzo Medie

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
Afi Tekple is a young seamstress in Ghana. Smart and pretty, she has also been convinced by her mother to marry a man she doesn’t know: a wealthy businessman named Elikem. His family has chosen Afi in the hopes that she will distract him from a current relationship they disapprove of. When Afi is moved from her small hometown to live in Accra, Ghana’s gleaming capital full of wealth and sophistication, she is not prepared for the way her life will change. But she has agreed to this marriage in order to give her mother the financial security she desperately needs, and so Afi must see it through. Or must she?
 
A witty, moving, and smart debut novel, HIS ONLY WIFE takes place in a world of men who want their wives to be beautiful, to be good cooks and mothers, to grant their husbands forbearance. And in Afi, we meet a delightful, brave, and relatable heroine who just may break all the rules. But we also see the hypocrisy of the African lifestyle that prides itself on progress yet forces its women to submit to tradition, even when that means allowing their husbands to have more than one wife.
 
A Must-Read Novel: The New York Times Book Review * BuzzFeed * Time * Marie Claire * Parade * Travel + Leisure * Ms. * Bustle * The Millions * Book Riot * PopSugar * HelloGiggles * Kirkus Reviews* Good Morning America

 

86. COLD CRAZY (COLD Series Book 1)
 
When Kara Wilson is found dead from two bullets to the head in the parking garage of the Boston hospital where she worked as an oncology nurse, things immediately begin to heat up. Detective Craig Barnes and his partner begin digging around in search of the cold-blooded murderer, truths and secrets come to light. Lives begin to unravel, revealing jealousy and rage. Pure insanity at its most dangerous depth rears its ugly head.
 
I may be a new fan of murder mysteries after reading Cold Crazy! The story was written using the voices and points of views of all the characters, which I felt brought the characters to life in my mind. I was able to envision each and every one and felt as though I was right in the midst of the scenes leading up to Kara's murder and the insanity that followed. Kudos to B. Berry for successfully weaving a "CRAZY" story - one that certainly captures your attention and will more than likely have you anticipating the next release in the COLD SERIES. -- SD Denny - Author/Freelancer
 
COLD SERIAL (COLD Series Book 2)
Women are coming up missing in Boston, Massachusetts and the families of the victims are demanding answers. To lead Detective Craig Barnes, the crime has the smell of a serial killer’s handiwork and he is determined to apprehend him. After losing his wife to the hands of a serial killer that had stalked the streets of Boston many years ago, the case has shaken him to the core. With his new love, Raayna by his side keeping him grounded, he finally begins to put the pieces together and stumbles on information from a homeless man who risks his life to tell Barnes what he saw in the park on a dark, rainy night.
 
The events that took place felt so real I thought the story had to be based on a true story. I lost a few hours sleep reading the book. My heart raced when I thought of the psychotic killer and I had to grab my Kindle and read another chapter at 2am in the morning. My alarm clock was set for 5am. When I was finally satisfied with reading I laid in bed thinking about, Crazy Harold.
                
 
87.Tiffany Hadish's autobiography, THE LAST BLACK UNICORN
 
From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of GIRLS TRIP, Tiffany Haddish, comes THE LAST BLACK UNICORN, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself. By turns hilarious, filthy, and brutally honest, THE LAST BLACK UNICORN shows the world who Tiffany Haddish really is—humble, grateful, down-to-earth, and funny as hell. And now, she’s ready to inspire others through the power of laughter.
 
Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money—as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman—to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend. None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy. Tiffany can’t avoid being funny—it’s just who she is, whether she’s plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person’s mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others.
 
88. GIRL, WASH YOUR FACE by Rachel Hollis
 
I thought we should end the year with a motivational self-help book, to set the tone for bigger and better next year. This one is ahead of the rest! Get this book and align your goals for a better 2022! #1 New York Times Bestseller! Over $3 million copies sold!
 
Do you ever suspect that everyone else has life figured out and you don’t have a clue? If so, Rachel Hollis has something to tell you: that’s a lie.
If you have ever said any of these things to yourself . . .
Something else will make me happy.
I’m not a good mom.
I will never get past this.
I am defined by my weight.
I should be further along by now.
. . . then you could benefit from the unflinching faith and rock-hard tenacity Rachel Hollis has in store for you. In this challenging but conversational book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore.
 
Rachel is real and talks about real issues. More than that, she reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them. In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be. Because you really can live with passion and hustle – and give yourself grace without giving up.
 
89. THE 1619 PROJECT by Nikole Hannah-Jones
 
In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States.
 
The New York Times Magazine’s award-winning “1619 Project” issue reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with thirty-six poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself. This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction—and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.
 
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present. It features contributions from our greatest thinkers. Named one of the BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by The Washington Post • NPR • Esquire • Marie Claire • Kirkus Reviews
 
 
90. The tenth book is one of mine: SEASONS; MY JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF
 
I lost my husband of forty-one years to sarcoidosis, a disease that few people know much about. My beloved struggled through a year of fatigue, anemia, and other health issues, with doctors at the county hospital telling us he was doing just fine."  When he died, I went through all the stages of grief, from anger and depression to acceptance, and I realized that our good times far outweighed the bad.  So I turned to journaling, and the 800 pages I wrote in the years before and after his death became my book, SEASONS; MY JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF.
 

I found my comfort in writing. Before my husband died, I prayed for healing for him and patience for me. After, I communed with God, my thoughts and nature as I wrote pages nearly everyday, using the words of others, including the Bible, to inspire and console me. They gave me wisdom and courage to help me come to terms with my loss without baring my soul and tears in public. As Oprah said, "Keeping a journal will change your life in ways that you'd never imagine.

After two years, I had turned my journals into my fifth book, SEASONS. I selected my best passages and organized them into four sections: summer, autumn, winter, and spring, recounting his death and the year that followed. This is the true story of my journey through my own seasons of grief. Grief, like life,, has its own set of seasons. We must all eventually face them head on, in our own time and at our own pace. No matter what our loss, we must learn how to endure and survive our seasons in order to live fully again.  This is the true story of my journey through my own seasons of grief. If you've lost a loved one, especially a spouse, you might gain some insight from my journey.